Bulgaria's President: Vilnius 10 Overlooked EU Reaction to Iraq Declaration

Politics | February 21, 2003, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria's President: Vilnius 10 Overlooked EU Reaction to Iraq Declaration

Bulgaria should have informed the European Union when it prepared the declaration of the Vilnius 10 along with the other East European NATO candidates. This is the opinion of the country's President Parvanov who criticized the foreign ministry in Sofia for acting in obscurity. Washington praised Bulgaria as the engine of the so-called Vilnius 10 -- a group of nations set up in 2000 to seek NATO membership -- when they called upon the U.N. Security Council to take the necessary action in response to Iraq's after US Secretary of State Powell addressed the council early February.

Bulgaria's position on Iraq was misunderstood in Europe, President Parvanov said in the follow-up of his French counterpart Chirac's lash of Bulgarian foreign policy. "We have to ask ourselves why some European leaders got the wrong impression," he pointed out. The president recommended to the government to listen to Europe's critical remarks. However, he stressed that his reaction to Chirac's harsh words was "strong enough."

Bulgaria should seek guarantees for its national security not only in Washington but in NATO's headquarters in Brussels as well. The country's President Parvanov stressed that commenting on this week's visit of the alliance's Secretary General George Roberson at a meeting with indigenous media.

According to the president, Brussels should not stick to de jure interpretation that leaves Bulgaria without security guarantees as non-member of the alliance in a possible war on Iraq. He pointed out that Bulgaria has acted as de facto NATO ally even before September 11 attacks. President Parvanov said that the country has done so not only because it hoped for NATO membership but out of solidarity to the goals of the alliance. A few days ago, NATO Secretary General Robertston did not promise guarantees for Bulgaria's national security in case of war against Iraq. "Full guarantees are granted to a country only after it becomes full member of the Alliance," he underlined.

Bulgaria's President Parvanov recommended to Prime Minister Saxe-Coburg who leaves for consultations with President Bush on Monday to insist on guarantees for Bulgaria's security.
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